Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto in any form shape or fashion. If I did, I would have already killed him and taken Hinata for myself…
The four young ninja walked along the pathway with their instructor.
"Sensei, I meant to ask. Why are you pulling that cart?" Naruto asked innocently.
"Souvenirs." Kakashi said with a grin that shown through his mask.
"You know sensei, I didn't see you with your usual perverted books this entire mission." Sakura added.
"Unnecessary." Kakashi said vaguely.
Redundant, would be the word I'd use. Sasuke thought as he once again shifted uneasily. It was taking some time to get used to walking around with 'things' that needed to be adjusted occasionally.
He looked at their small group. Sakura was hanging onto his arm, annoyingly, and Hinata was holding Naruto's hand. The girls each carried a trophy as well.
"That sure is a big trophy, Hinata." Naruto said for perhaps the tenth time.
"Yeah, I'm happy we won it." Sakura said looking at the trophy that Hinata was carrying. Then she hefted the one she was carrying as well.
"It isn't fair. We did all the work how come YOU get to keep the soccer trophy Sakura?" Naruto whined.
"Because Hinata and I agreed that she could keep the singing trophy and I would keep the soccer trophy. Besides, I DID manage the team and come up with the plays." Sakura said sweetly.
"It still isn't fair." Naruto griped.
"Yeah, WE did all the work." Sasuke added.
Sakura smiled at the two of them. "Well you know. You're right. You two should get this trophy. In fact, I'll go around and tell everyone in the village how the two of you single handedly won the GIRL'S regional soccer championship."
Sasuke and Naruto looked at each other. "Keep it." They said glumly.
Sakura smiled. After all, out witting someone to get a trophy was probably more rewarding than putting out all the blood sweat and tears it took to win the thing in the first place. They traveled on in silence for a short while until the inevitable happened.
"You know Hinata, that sure is a big…" Naruto started as Hinata lightly put her hand over his mouth.
"Shut up Naruto." Hinata said smiling up at him. "You're cuter when you're quiet."
Sasuke made it a point to send Hinata flowers anonymously once they reached the village to say thank you. Besides, it would drive Naruto crazy trying to find out who did it.
The five of them kept walking until they reached the branch in the pathway that led to the other side of the lake. There they found Shino, Kiba, and Kurenai.
"Hey guys, guess what. Shino got himself a girlfriend!" Kiba said laughing.
Sasuke stared at the two of them for a moment. Surely, they had to have figured it out by now.
Shino took out a photograph. Naruto, Hinata, and Sakura were trying to keep straight faces. They had similar photographs that the four of them had taken at the ball. Naniko and Shiori weren't in any of them, but she was in this one.
They all looked at Sasuke and he shook his head. "You guys go on ahead. I'll tell him." Sasuke said as the group walked a little further up the path leaving Sasuke alone with Shino.
Sasuke looked at Shino who looked back at him impassively. "If you EVER tell anybody what happened out there on the veranda, I WILL kill you." Sasuke said through his embarrassment before walking back toward his friends.
Shino watched as everyone turned to go. A single tear slid down his cheek as he looked down at the picture he'd gotten from that night. He turned to drop it on the path and then seemed to reconsider. He then put the picture away and started off after everyone. A man could dream…